The Rideau Hall Foundation has announced the 2021 winners of the Governor General’s Innovation Awards. This year, six individuals and groups have secured the honour, including two key members of Canadian healthtech startups.
The awards aim to recognize and celebrate exceptional Canadian individuals, teams, and organizations for their excellence in innovation and “their contributions to helping shape our future and positively impact our quality of life.” The Rideau Hall Foundation is an independent and non-political charitable organization that manages all aspects of the Governor General’s Innovation Awards.
Sheila Wang co-founded Swift Medical in 2015 to improve the quality of care for wound patients.
This year’s list of recipients includes Sheila Wang, co-founder and chief medical officer of Toronto-based healthtech startup Swift Medical, for her creation of Swift’s artificial intelligence (AI)-powered remote wound care monitoring solution. The company’s mobile app captures and shares high-precision wound images from home.
“This is a team win for Swift Medical,” said Wang. “It is a privilege to work with my co-founders, Justin, Carlo and Edwin, and the diverse team of people at Swift Medical who are talented, visionary, and committed to building tools that transform health care and improve patients’ lives.”
Wang co-founded Swift Medical in 2015 to improve the quality of care for wound patients. According to the startup, today, its solutions have been adopted by nearly 4,000 health care organizations, including health systems, hospitals, home care agencies, and long-term care facilities.
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In response to COVID-19, Wang and her team led the creation of Telewound Care Canada, an initiative that aims to help vulnerable wound patients access remote wound care while traditional in-person remains inaccessible due to pandemic anxieties and public health measures. This February, the Digital Technology Supercluster invested $2.5 million in the project. By the summer, the project is expected to help over 1,000 wound patients in Ontario and Québec.
Swift Medical’s wound care management platform delivers wound care visualization and touchless 3D measurement through its Swift Skin and Wound software, which streamlines clinical and administrative wound care management workflows, from image capture and automatic risk scoring to assessment scheduling and claims submission. In 2018, the startup raised $11.6 million from Real Ventures, Relay Ventures, BDC, and BHVC.
James Robar, chief scientific officer at Halifax-based healthtech startup Adaptiiv Medical Technologies, also secured an award for his cancer-focused 3D printing software, which Adaptiiv is currently deploying at cancer treatment centres around the world.
Robar’s tech enables the design of patient-specific radiotherapy accessories designed to improve treatment accuracy and patient experience. Last year, Adaptiiv won $100,000 from Atlantic Canada’s first health challenge pitch event.
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The list of winners also includes Geoffrey T. Fong, David Hammond, and Mary E. Thompson, who secured an award for their international tobacco control research. Centred at the University of Waterloo, the project supports and defends tobacco control policies.
According to the Rideau Hall Foundation, their research, which spans 29 countries, “has led Canada and many other countries to strengthen their tobacco control efforts, improving the health of millions.”
Other winners include: Jackie Dawson, Natalie Carter, Natasha Simonee, and Shirley Tagalik for their arctic shipping routes-focused integration of Inuit knowledge and western science, and Xiaoyi Bao for her distributed acoustic sensor tech.
Photo from Swift Medical